InVivo Therapeutics settles monkey business with Oregon research facility

January 4, 2010 by MassDevice staff

InVivo Therapeutics Inc. settles its beef with Oregon Health & Science University, which it blamed for a botched primate study of its tissue regeneration technique for spinal cord injuries.

InVivo logo

Attorneys for InVivo Therapeutics Inc. said the company has settled a lawsuit it filed against an Oregon research facility after a botched primate study last year.

Alexander Furey, the attorney for the Cambridge, Mass.-based tissue regeneration developer, told MassDevice that InVivo and Oregon Health & Sciences University reached a settlement. Furey declined to provide any specifics on the terms of the agreement, saying only that "the settlement was confidential."

InVivo, an early-stage medical device company that's working on treatments for severe spinal cord injuries using implantable polymers, filed suit against OHSU in the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts in September, 2009. The company accused OHSU of breach of contract, breach of good faith, fraud, fraudulent inducement, misrepresentation, unjust enrichment and unfair business practices.

InVivo contended that the research facility failed to provide the agreed-upon number of primates for a second primate study and that complications following surgery to sever the monkeys' spinal cords, which led to the euthanization of four of the primates, were due to negligence on OHSU's part. The failed study cost InVivo more than $500,000 and significantly derailed its plans, according to the company.

OHSU, which vigorously denied all of InVivo's claims, in a statement jointly issued with InVivo, said "the individuals who conducted the research and cared for the animals acted professionally, ethically and with the utmost concern for the humane treatment of the animals."

InVivo has since resumed primate studies at St. Kitts Biomedical Research Facility in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the site of its initial primate study in 2007. The company also filed for an investigational device exemption from the Food & Drug Administration in December, 2009, seeking to conduct human trials.